of weakness in european banks, which led to an unexpected down day. "wall street journal" report that major lenders across the pond understated potentially risky holdings in government debt gave investors a reason to sell after strong gains last week, wall street's best in the past two months. most analysts took the hit in stride, pointing out yesterday's light volume, which tends to exaggerate market moves. still others saw reason for concern, particularly with so-called safe haven stock alternatives like treasuries and gold jumping. gold rose to an all-time high, settling just over $1,259 an ounce. among advancers, oracle was up almost 6% after hiring mark hurd, the former boss at hewlett-packard as co-president. meanwhile hp sued hurd, asking a court to block him from joining oracle, saying his hiring puts hp's trade secrets in, quote, peril. u.s. steel shares rose more than 4% on renewed takeover speculation.